The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 10, 2012
California Senate President Darrell Steinberg says public pension reform still on track

Thumbnail image for 110701 Steinberg Cap Bureau.JPGState lawmakers are still considering public pension changes, including a hybrid plan that would allow for a defined benefit component capped at a certain salary level.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, revealed discussed the proposal to reporters on Monday afternoon, saying that plan is still in the formative stages.

Meanwhile the joint committee on pensions that has been meeting since late last year is scheduled to meet again on Friday in Southern California.

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a hybrid pension plan that mixes blends Social Security, a defined benefit and a more volatile 401(k)-style component that would aim to match 75 percent of an employee's three-year average income when they retire.

"We would prefer to take a different approach," Steinberg said, that would cap the defined benefit component to a percentage of salary, then supplement that with investment income.

"That makes more sense so that lower wage, middle wage workers are guaranteed a middle class pension," he said.

Like Brown, Steinberg linked pension legislation that cuts costs to gaining voter support for tax increases the governor and Democrats hope to put on the November ballot.

"I think there's an expectation that we'll pass pension reform this year and we intend to do so," Steinberg said. "And that is the right thing to do. And I think it also shows the people as we approach the November election that we're serious about the reform side of the agenda as well."

PHOTO: Darrell Steinberg during an interview at The Bee Capitol Bureau. / Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee, 2011

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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